John Lowell, Jr. (lawyer)

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For other people named John Lowell, see John Lowell (disambiguation).
John Lowell, Jr.

John Lowell, Jr. (October 6, 1769 Newburyport, Massachusetts – March 12, 1840 Boston) was an American lawyer and notable member of the Federalist Party in the early days of the United States of America.


John Lowell, Jr., was the son of John Lowell (1743–1802). He graduated from Harvard in 1786, and was admitted to the bar in 1789 (like his father, before he was twenty years old). He retired from active practice in 1803, and traveled to Europe.[1]

After his return in 1806 he devoted himself to literature, writing on politics, agriculture, theology, and other topics, under various signatures, such as "Citizen of Massachusetts", "Massachusetts Lawyer", "Layman", and "Yankee Farmer".[1] He opposed French influence and the policies of the Democratic Party, writing many spirited pamphlets (some signed "The Boston Rebel", some "The Roxbury Farmer"), including: The Antigallican (1797), Remarks on the Hon. J. Q. Adams's Review of Mr Ames's Works (1809), New England Patriot, being a Candid Comparison of the Principles and Conduct of the Washington and Jefferson Administrations (1810), Appeals to the People on the Causes and Consequences of War with Great Britain (1811) and Mr Madison's War (1812). The pamphlets contain an extreme statement of the anti-war party and defend impressment as a right of long standing.[2]

After the war Lowell abandoned politics, and won for himself the title of "the Columella of New England" by his interest in agriculture — he was for many years president of the Massachusetts Agricultural Society.[2] He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1804.[3] From 1810 until 1828 he was a member of the corporation of Harvard, which gave him the degree of LL.D. in 1814.[1] He was a benefactor of the Boston Athenaeum and the Massachusetts General Hospital.[2] he died suddenly on 12 March 1840. His funeral sermon was delivered by the Rev. Francis W. P. Greenwood.[1]

Edward Everett said of him: "He possessed colloquial powers of the highest order and a flow of unstudied eloquence never surpassed, and rarely, as with him, united with the command of an accurate, elegant, and logical pen".[1]


Among his political pamphlets, of which he published about twenty-five, are:[1]

  • "Peace without Dishonor — War without Hope, an Inquiry into the Subject of the 'Chesapeake' " (Boston, 1807)
  • "Candid Comparison of the Washington and Jefferson Administrations" (1810)
  • "Diplomatick Policy of Mr. Madison Unveiled" (1810)
  • "Mr. Madison's War; a Dispassionate Inquiry into the Reasons alleged by Madison for declaring an Offensive and Ruinous War against Great Britain" (1812)

His theological writings include "Are you a Christian or a Calvinist?" (1815).[1]


John Lowell, Jr., was one of many notable members of the Lowell family. For example, his brother, Francis Cabot Lowell was the founder of U.S. cotton manufacturing.[1] His wife, Rebecca Amory, was the daughter of the Boston diarist Katharine Greene Amory.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Wilson & Fiske 1900.
  2. ^ a b c Chisholm 1911, p. 76.
  3. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter L" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved September 8, 2016. 
  4. ^ Lawrence, Robert Means. The Descendants of Major Samuel Lawrence of Groton, Massachusetts: With Some Mention of Allied Families. Printed at the Riverside Press, 1904, pp. 178–79.